Vistaprint (Cimpress): two metrics nobody talks about (but should be a benchmark for every printer)

How is your business doing? It may seem a simple question, but the answer might be rather difficult, especially if you want to go beyond your gut feelings. To get a more objective picture about the state of your company, you need metrics, you need benchmarks. Financial benchmarks with your competitors are relatively easy, but that’s only a part of the picture, one that accounting decisions could influence. But if you are a printer, here are two interesting benchmarks from Vistaprint (Cimpress), two benchmarks nobody is telling you about: the percentage of their turnover they spend on advertising and the complaint rate…

CONTENTS: Advertising | Complaints | Why is this important?

Cimpress, and before that Vistaprint, is a public company, which means they share a lot of information. Already over a decade ago, I started looking at their info and found interesting pieces of how the company operates. Below is e.g. a slide from a presentation 11 years ago (2010), showing how efficient they are at producing business cards: only 13 seconds (!) of labor per business card pack. And remember: that was over a decade ago!

manul labor per business card

I had already covered their marketing and selling costs a few years ago, and the latest info confirm they still spend a significant amount of money on advertising. Dear printer: how does this compare to your spending?

Advertising as % of revenue

But I also found a new benchmark in their latest presentation, one I can’t remember having seen this before: the complaint rate.

Complaint rate

And here again the question, dear printer: how does this compare to your figures? Is this a considerable number, is this average, or even low? Please share your insights in the comment section!

Why is this important?
For each company it is essential to be able to benchmark results with competitors, with other companies. On a financial level, that’s not too difficult. However, that’s not easy on an operation level: most companies don’t publish these kinds of metrics. That’s why these two examples from Vistaprint (Cimpress) are so important: it gives you an insight in how they attract new customers (the percentage advertising) and how ‘good’ their products are (complaint rate). Every printing company should do the exercise to put these metrics next to theirs.


PS: as an extra, this slide shows the profitability of Cimpress.



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About Eddy Hagen 135 Articles
The printing industry has changed significantly over the last few decades. And that change isn't over yet. Eddy Hagen has been observing all these changes from a front row seat, since 1988. He has seen and debunked hypes that still don't deliver. He has seen and promoted small evolutions that had a big impact. He has connected the dots to get a better view. He is an independent mind who might be able to give you unique insights in the world of print and innovation.

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